'Residents' or 'Taxpayers'? Neoliberalism, Rob Ford's Mayoral Campaign, and the Meaning of Urban Citizenship

Capurri, Valentina
December 2013
Canadian Journal of Urban Research;Winter2013, Vol. 22 Issue 2, p1
Academic Journal
This research discusses the public discourse developed by City Councillor Rob Ford during the 2010 mayoral campaign in Toronto, Ontario. By examining Ford's press releases and speeches throughout the campaign, my interest is in analyzing how Ford avoided addressing Torontonians as residents while focusing on taxpayers and consumers. While this emphasis on 'contributors' is part of a neoliberal trend common across the globe, I argue that its consequences are severe insofar as they systematically exclude a significant section of the city population. At a moment when socio-economic polarization is gaining strength in cities, it is problematic when the potential mayor of Canada's largest city consciously makes the decision to exclusively address a subsection of the population. Such a decision results in a city that is further divided between 'deserving' and undeserving' residents, seriously impacting on notions of urban citizenship and participation, and contributing to polarizing the population.


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